N12b new fire trucks in line with safety recommendations, says Olateru
Director General of the Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Akin Olateru, has said that the Federal Government’s recent purchase of 10 brand new fire trucks was in line with the safety recommendation of the bureau.
Notwithstanding the backlash of the N12 billion worth of purchase, Olateru said the Federal Government has succeeded in boosting aviation safety nationwide.
The Federal Government’s investment of a whopping N12 billion in 10 Lion Volkan 6×6 Brand of aerodrome rescue and fire fighting vehicles has caused a stir in the aviation community and beyond. According to the official estimate, the landing cost of each vehicle is N1.2 billion or $2.6 million (at N460/$1 current exchange rate) – making the purchase some of the most expensive in the world.
However, receiving the executive members of the Nigeria Aviation Fire and Safety Association (NAFSA) in Abuja, recently, Olateru, said via the gesture, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Aviation, demonstrated her commitment to air safety and underlined the critical place of firefighters in the safety of air travelers.
He recalled the Sosoliso crash of 2005 in which passengers, including school children, died in a most tragic manner, and commended the Aviation Minister for taking the bull by the horn to correct the error in the system.
Olateru said: “Sosoliso crash is an occurrence, which nobody prays to experience again because it was not just that the aircraft crashed, not just that people were burnt to death, but that parents watched while their children were burnt to death. They were helpless. That memory will be with any parent for life.”
He commended the aviation minister and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for implementing the recommendation, adding that although it is coming more than 15 years after, “it is better than never.”
The NSIB boss lauded the critical role of aviation firefighters in air safety and urged them to assist NSIB in preserving the evidence at the crash sites.
Earlier, the president of NAFSA, Sunday Ugbeikwu, lauded NSIB and its leadership for a good job of promoting aviation safety in Nigeria.
While acknowledging the importance of firefighters as first responders during occurrences, the NAFSA president sought collaboration between NAFSA and NSIB, to further boost aviation safety in the country.
This partnership, according to him, will ensure an interface between firefighters as first responders during air occurrences and NSIB as investigators, which will assist in delivering thorough investigations.
The two organisations agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as soon as possible, to strengthen the relationship.
A committee to draft the MoU, which includes the NAFSA president, the NSIB Company Secretary, Dalhatu Kakangi, and General Manager, Safety and Security, Olumide Osineye, was constituted.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.